Interview With Emma Safir

Could you give us a brief introduction to who you are and what kind of work you make?
I am an artist living and working in Los Angeles. I moved here after graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2012 with a BFA in printmaking. I briefly co-owned a handbag line called Kuu Collections, but decided this year to return to art. Currently my work focuses principally on silk screen - I'm drawn its flatness and its relationship to process.

Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your works?
I'm fascinated with windows and reflections. Additionally, I'm becoming obsessed with making images that mirror the way we actually see everything around us. I am increasingly wondering what is the "real" in what we see and experience, and what's the best way to express it.

I look at other artists a lot - I think it helps contextualize my work. The artists I'm looking at a lot right now in no particular order are: Laura Owens, David Hockney, Edouard Vuillard, and Hiroshige.

What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
Paint sharpies and acetate - can't make anything with out them!

What types of obstacles have you run into in your artistic practice and how do you go about navigating around them
Making prints in general requires resources! Luckily, silk screen is super accessible, so it's not out of the question to do outside of a professional studio.

What do you feel are the recurring themes in your visual work?  
Most of my work for the past 5 years has been in some way about what I call the California uncanny. Endless sun, strange topiary, quiet streets. Everything here is real and unreal. I think this is part of my fascination with reflection. I'm interested in imagined reality versus what's actually there.

Additionally, I work with a specific cmyk based color palette. I like the idea of using commercial colors with a medium with such a commercial medium.

What is the best piece of artistic advice you’ve been given?
rom my first art teacher, when I was a kid: "Draw what you see, not what you know."